Turkey mourns dead soldiers as outrage grows

October 20, 2011 01:41

ANKARA - Turkey on Thursday mourned 24 young soldiers killed by Kurdish militants near Iraq in one of the deadliest attacks in years, as public outrage mounted and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan faced pressure to act decisively against the rebels.

While Turkish troops backed by fighter jets and helicopter gunships pursued Kurdish rebels into Iraq and political leaders vowed to exact "great revenge", religious ceremonies for the dead soldiers were due to be held in the eastern city of Van in what was sure to be a national outpouring of grief and anger.

Underlying outrage at the attack by Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels and the risk of a backlash against minority Kurds, Turkish flags flew over government buildings and homes in cities across the country and protesters gathered in Istanbul and the capital Ankara to chant slogans against the PKK.

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